Insurgents in the North Caucasus switched from the al-Qaeda-affiliated Imarat Kavkaz to the Islamic State after 2014. Although this transition was partially the result of Imarat Kavkaz’s military defeat, it has also settled two decades of tension over ideology. It signalled the victory of Salafi-jihadism over a nationally rooted (radical) Islamism and led to a break between the insurgents and the Caucasian context. This de-territorialization of grievances for the war has in turn increased the threat of radical Islamist violence for Russia.